Hansen’s Sno-Bliz

Hansen’s Sno-Bliz
4801 Tchoupitoulas St.
New Orleans, LA
(504) 891-9788

The story of Hansen’s Sno-Bliz is the sort that New Orleanians love to tell. It involves a business built and sustained by three generations of one New Orleans family, it has a welcome post-Katrina happy ending despite some tragic twists, and its core narrative is all about sweetness. Ernest Hansen, a machinist by trade and an inveterate tinkerer, built his first Sno-Bliz ice-shaving machine in the 1930’s so that he could make sno-balls for his family. Soon enough his wife Mary parked the apparatus on the sidewalk beneath a Chinaball tree and began hawking freeform clouds of shaved ice drenched in homemade flavored syrups for two-cents a pop – a penny more than the going rate at the time.

The business moved several times over the years, eventually landing in the cinderblock building on Tchoupitoulas Street where so many New Orleanians find reprieve during the hottest months. Cream of nectar, cream of chocolate, spearmint, orangeade, and Ernest’s Own root beer – all made daily – are among the favorite syrup flavors, but for many customers the Hansens themselves are the main reason for patronizing the shop.

Ernest and Mary both passed away before they could return to the city post-Katrina. They had been married for 72 years. Their granddaughter, Ashley, who already had been working with them for nearly a decade, now runs the business. Ashley carries on Ernest and Mary’s warmth as well as their recipes.

Date of interview:

August 7, 2006


Sara Roahen


Sara Roahen

Hansen’s Sno-Bliz - Ashley Hansen - New Orleans Sno-Balls
A Sno-Bliz is a finely shaved, almost hollow type of ice-shavings where the syrup does not go all the way through. You actually put the syrup on in layers to get consistency throughout the body of the sno-ball. So therefore, the flavor stays with you throughout the process of eating it.

First you have a sundae…And then after the sundae you have a Duper, and from a Duper you’ve got a Baby Duper and a Super Duper, and the--the difference between the Baby Duper and the Super Duper is the size of the cup. But on the top you have on both ice, syrup, cream, crushed pineapple, marshmallow and a cherry. And marshmallow is this thick, goopy, creamy stuff that is so good, and when it’s on the cold sno-ball it gets extra chewy and it sticks to everything and it’s so much fun. It’s so awesome.

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